Jonty Layfield reports on his stunning win in the Swan Cup.
We recently competed in the 50th anniversary Swan Cup in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, on our 1971 S&S designed Swan 48 “Sleeper X”, on board were our normal group of long term crew mates, including son Jack and George Thompson, both have sailed with us since boys, great that Shawn Malone made the huge effort to come over and this was the third time that Shawn has now raced with us, and he did a great job on the tactics and used his big strength in winding in the 135% genoa. Vicky once again was superb with her navigating.
We have never raced the boat before and in fact the first sail was when Vicky and myself sailed down to Sardinia via some pleasant cruising down the Corsican coast.
The class consisted of 36 boats, there were some hot and well prepared Swans including half a dozen Swan 65’s, so we knew we had to be on the pace from the start, first race was in no more than 10-12knots and we managed a 2nd, the next race was in more breeze of up to 20 knots and we started to find out how the boat performed and managed a first, the third race was up in the high 20’s and including some dodgy dead down wind sailing, we managed to keep the boat from broaching with some good sail trimming, after this race some of the professional teams started to complain and they were asking why our over weight, middle aged bunch of amateurs were beating their boats? I think part of this was our colourful non wearing of team shirts! Anyway we were subject to a nasty protest and we took this on board and allowed the boat to be re-measured, after the Chairman of ORC and his team carried out the remeasurement, they told us with a big smiles that in fact our rating was incorrect and the rating should be much lower, the protestors were much bemused and we clebrated with a well earned TOT that evening!
Our competition was from America’s Cup pro sailors on a very nicely prepared Swan called “Mascolinoi Latino”, we had to beat them on the last day and we knew that they were gunning for us after the protest issue.
Last day we knew we had to sail a clean race and felt the pressure was on as the the pro’s were out for us! We managed a first by 20 seconds, the wind was well up, getting up to over 30 knots on occasion, we sailed a faultless race, once again the experience of our crew paid off and never fouled a single hoist, drop, sail change, or gybe. It is great to sail with such cool guys, without whom we could not have achieved such good results over the years, they also tirelessly work on boat preparation (pre race and during the race). Shawn gave us good lanes and made once again excellent calls. The result took a long time coming in that afternoon and it was humbling to find out that we had won the class with three wins and a second.
We proudly flew the Antiguan flag and our 2.2 oz kite looked good in Antiguan flag coloured scheme.
CONGRATULATIONS FROM ALL OF US AT AYC!